OBX Sunrise

On a clear morning, there are few things like an OBX sunrise.  OBX is the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Don’t know where it originated or when, but it’s saves keystrokes so I’ll take it.

(And yes, to those of you who’ve seen it up and down the east coast, it’s beautiful everywhere!)

If there is no haze or clouds, it’s a pure unadultered and unobstructed sunrise – the sky lights up and the sun edges its’ way above the horizon.  It doesn’t take all that long to happen either – all of the OBX sunrise photos added to the sunrises gallery on Laughing Frog Images were taken within a span of 15 minutes.

If you’re lucky like I was, pelicans, sea gulls and other shore birds will fly through your viewfinder and you’ll end up with the birds in silhouette.

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Making your own sunrise over the water images like this is fairly easy.  First, take the rule about not shooting into the sun and ignore it.  Second, select a low ISO,  Third, select a high shutter speed.  Fourth, select a medium to high aperture.  Then, shoot away!  Vary your exposures by a stop or two up and down so that you get a broad selection of images to choose from.

The image above was made at ISO 100, 1/1000 second, and f8.

If you’re shooting with a smartphone, tablet, or point and shoot, and you can select the exposure point – pick right in the enter of the sun streak on the water.  Then, move the selection point up, down, left and right so that you’ve got several different exposures to choose from.

If you like sunrises, check out the sunrise gallery.

If you like OBX sunrises, or any sunrises for that matter, but can’t get to the shore to photograph them yourself – well, we’ve got you covered – and covered for 25% off of sunrises and everything else on Laughing Frog Images through December 15, 2015.


I struggled for a title for this post.

Beam me up.  E.T., phone home.  We’ll leave the light on for you.  I was all over the board with phrases from pop culture.

And then, simplicity hit me.


Sometimes, simple is better.

I suspect that each of you that looks at this image will see something different, and perhaps feel something different.

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Yes, this is in fact light from the moon.

It’s just after 11PM on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  It’s cloudy, but the moon is out there, fighting for a chance to be seen.

And I’m out there with a tripod and cable release seeing what I can make of it.


This isn’t something you see every day.

Apart from the occasional laughter of revelers on the beach, all you could hear were the rolling waves hitting the sand.

I wonder if the revelers saw what I saw?  All I can say is that I wasn’t fighting for space to set up my tripod…

I made over 20 images of varying durations in my attempt to capture the moment.

(Good thing digital film is essentially free!)

You can see pleasure boats far out on the horizon.  How can I say that they were far out?

Well, the exposures ranged from 10 to 60 seconds, and their light trails are not that long.  They were out there…

You can see the moonbeams coming through the clouds much like the rays of the sun poke through on a cloudy, rainy day.

You can see where the cloud layer was thinner or broken – that’s where you can in fact see the clouds back lit by the moon somewhere up there.

The water looks like anything but water.  That’s the result of the long exposures.  It’s probably not how you’d envision the Atlantic Ocean looking.

But after all, it’s getting towards midnight and these are long exposures to capture the moonbeams.

There came a time when it occurred to me that there was no one else out, and that it might be time to head in.

Hoping that the images captured the moonbeams as I saw them, it was time…

So, I packed up, folded up, and picked up and called it a night.

You can find the rest of the moonbeam images here in the moon gallery on Laughing Frog Images.


If you’re so inclined, leave a comment as to which one is your favorite and why.

Technical details: Tripod, cable release, Nikon D7100, Tamron 18-270mm zoom, ISO 800, exposures from 10 to 60 seconds, f8.